In Europe, Germany also reported an unexpected increase in exports driven by overseas demand. Exports rose 1.6 percent from January, when they gained 3.4 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. The figures are seasonally adjusted.
The German performance represents a model that Sarkozy has repeatedly held out as an example for France, while using the fate of Spain as an example of what could happen if the country doesn’t pursue economic reforms such as his proposal to cut social charges on payrolls by raising sales tax.
“It’s worked wonderfully in Germany,” he said on April 5. At the same time, “Spain is today in the midst of a crisis of confidence,” he said.
Hollande responded by saying that Sarkozy was in no position to give lessons on the crisis at the end of a five-year mandate in which jobless claims have jumped to a 12-year high and France’s debt load has increased.
French voters will choose between 10 candidates in the first round of the election April 22, and the two front runners will face off on May 6.